300 Years of Freeney’s in Delmar

Freeney -> Howard -> Howell

This all started as a result of seeing the spelling of Freeney as Freeny in the newly found Freeney family Bible (see earlier entry).  Now confident that both spellings are used in our family, a renewed effort was made to find more of our Freeney ancestors.

We know our Freeney’s / Freeny’s have a long history in the town of Delmar which is split by the Maryland – Delaware state line.  However a new discovery made this week says that history goes much further back than we knew… Here is what I have learned from the research compiled by Charles Freeny III:

In 1707 Peter Freeny arrived from northern Ireland and settled near what is today the town of Delmar.  Peter’s grandson Joshua Freeny (who fought in the Revolutionary War), documented the following as reported in “Peter Freeny and His Descendants in America”:

The first of the family who came to America was Peter Freeny of Ireland, who settled in the disputed territory, near the boundary between Maryland and Delaware, near the town of Delmar. Here he cut and hewed the logs from the forest and built his home on the land he supposed to be in Maryland. When the boundary dispute was settled, the boundary line ran through his plantation but the home was then in the province of Delaware. Freeny was not pleased with the prospect of being a resident of Delaware, and wishing to remain a citizen of Maryland, carefully pulled down his home and carried the logs across the line and built his home on the part of the land that was in the province of Maryland.

Peter Freeny and his family were protestants and most likely were part of an ethnic group in Ireland known as the Ulster-Scots – persons descended mainly from Lowland Scots who settled in the Province of Ulster during a planned process of colonization during the 17th century.

Our Connection (tree)

John Freeny (b.1675 Ulster, Ireland). John’s son, Peter Freeny (b. cir. 1695 Ulster, Ireland arrives Delmar area in 1707). Peter’s son, John Freeny (1718 – 1786) lived in Delmar. John’s son, Joshua Freeny (1739–1828) a Revolutionary War Soldier. His son, Richard Freeny (b. cir 1779). His son Peter Freeny (1810–1896). His son Thomas Barton Freeny, Sr. (1850 – 1884) whose headstone references his parents and was moved from his farm to St. Stephens cemetery. His son, Thomas Barton Freeney, Jr (1884 – 1950). And his daughter, Sara Marguerite Freeney (1911 – 1987) who married Dr. W. L. Howard (1906 – 2005).

Why Didn’t Marguerite Freeney Howard document this?

My grandmother, Sara Marguerite Freeney Howard is buried in St. Stephen’s Cemetery, Delmar, DE with her husband, her parents (Thomas Barton Freeney, Jr and Sara Jane Webster Freeney) and her grandparents (Thomas Barton Freeney Sr. & Emily Goslee Freeney). Thomas Barton Freeney, Jr. was an optometrist in Delmar, DE.

Until a few days ago I had not been able to trace further back than Peter and Elizabeth Freeney, who were the parents of Thos. Barton Freeney, Sr.  Our knowledge of Peter and Elizabeth was limited to the fact that their names were mentioned on Thomas Barton Freeney, Sr.’s gravestone – nothing more could be found.  I had always thought this unfortunate as Sara Marguerite Freeney Howard was interested in genealogy and did some research, but as far as I know never documented her father’s paternal Freeney / Freeny line. There is always the possibility that she was aware of the connections above, but did not believe they were hers.  On the other hand, the research we are relying upon was published after her death.

One final new tidbit that surfaced:  The names of Thomas Barton Freeny, Sr.’s siblings includes one Sara M. Freeny!